Their enthusiam rolled over me in waves of joy and excitement. Each time I read a name, their raised voices drowned out anything else I could say. I had to wait and give their acknowledgement and cheers its due.
Where was I? Attending an awards ceremony at the SC Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities. My purpose? Presenting the awards from the state-wide high school writing competition sponsored by South Carolina Writers' Workshop (SCWW), a non-profit organization that I've had the honor of serving for the last three years.
Each year, SCWW sponsors a writing competion for high school juniors and seniors. We award a First Place, Second Place, and three Honorable Mentions in each of the categories of Poetry, Fiction, and Non-Fiction.
Last year, I discovered the incredible atmostphere at the Governor's School in Greenville, SC when I presented the awards to the 2009 winners from that school. This year I returned, amazed at the accomplishments of these students.
SCWW receives submissions from public, private, and home schools from all over the state. Thirty-two different schools submitted 242 entries in the 2010 contest. Fifty-one of those submissions came from the Governor's School. Although they represented twenty percent of the entries, the students in this school took home thirteen of the fifteen available prizes! Wow!
With each announcement, the kids shouted and cheered their support for each other. The mood in the room was contagiuous and changed my day. I couldn't help but laugh and smile with them as they congratulated their classmates. I wish that I could bottle that atmosphere and sell it as pure motivation ... or as a cure for migraines.
Yes, you read that last sentence correctly--I said a cure for migraines. In the early hours of that morning, I awoke under the pounding force of a migraine. I took a pain reliever hoping it would help me sleep a little longer, so I could meet my responsibilities for the morning. Although I managed a couple of more hours of sleep, the migraine still hammered my body when I woke up and prepared to attend the awards ceremony. To say I wasn't thrilled to be leaving the house is an understatement.
BUT, these kids deserved their moment in the sun, and I plugged onward to give it to them. Thanks to their spirit of contagious enthusiasm, my migraine shriveled to a minor headache. For that reason, I have to thank these talented kids and their teacher, Scott Gould. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
I'd love to bottle their enthusiasm because you can't find that kind of atmosphere just anywhere. A few days before the awards ceremony, I read the winning submissions and could not believe the talent and maturity represented in their writing. Imagine receiving the opportunity to explore your creative talents in a world that stands beside you and applauds your efforts with no evidence of jealousy or strife. No wonder the students in this school achieve high honors.
In my estimation, all of the students at the SC Governor's School for the Arts & Humanities are winners. Congratulations to each and every one of you!
All of the high school juniors and seniors that participated in SCWW's writing contest deserve praise and recognition. I encourage each of them to continue to pursue their dreams.
Below is a list of this year's winners:
1st Place - Austen Hall, Learning When to Bluff, SC Governor’s School for Arts and Humanities
2nd Place - Lukas Hadtstein, Garden Gnome, SC Governor’s School for Arts and Humanities
Honorable Mentions - Madeline Welsh, Judging Because of Insecurity, Ben Lippen School
Iehyun Chang, We Raised Our Flags Towards Their Guns, Trinity Collegiate School
David Russell, Scout’s Honor, SC Governor’s School for Arts and Humanities
1st Place - Victoria Sharp, Six Things I Don’t Know, SC Governor’s School for Arts and Humanities
2nd Place - Jake Ross, Love and Loathing in the Waffle House, SC Governor’s School for Arts and Humanities
Honorable Mentions - Anna Faison, The Space Between, SC Governor’s School for Arts and Humanities
Emily Alverson, Waste(d), SC Governor’s School for Arts and Humanities
Wynne Hungerford, Bronze Age: A Timeline, SC Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities
1st Place - Elizabeth McClure, Trap, SC Governor’s School for Arts and Humanities
2nd Place - Victoria Sharp, Playing Pirates, SC Governor’s School for Arts and Humanities
Honorable Mentions - Megan Lee Dunbar, Music, SC Governor’s School for Arts and Humanities
Megan Gallaghue, August, SC Governor’s School for Arts and Humanities
Jermaine Simpson, When Boys Leave, SC Governor’s School for Arts and Humanities
SC Governor's School for the Arts & Humanities: http://www.scgsah.org/
South Caroline Writers' Workshop: http://www.myscww.org/